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#NextGenATP star Alexander Zverev knocked out top seed Stan Wawrinka on Tuesday at the Miami Open presented by Itau to advance to his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 quarter-final. The 19-year-old Zverev came back from a set down and ran away with the fourth-round contest, winning 12 of the final 15 games to claim victory 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 in one hour and 44 minutes.
“I had to be aggressive. I felt like he was the one controlling all the points all the time, so I had to change that. It worked out well for me. Happy to be in the quarter-finals now. Hopefully I can play as great as I did today,” Zverev said.
The German was nearly untouchable on his serve. He saved four of five break points and won almost 75 per cent of his service points, including 68 per cent of his second-serve offerings. Zverev also broke Wawrinka five times – all in the last two sets.
He improves to 2-0 against Wawrinka in their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry. Zverev won their first contest last September for his maiden title at the St. Petersburg Open. “Both times I played him I played [with] very high confidence and I played very well,” Zverev said. “I think we both have one of the best backhands on tour, both of us, so that maybe helps me a little bit. He likes to use that corner a lot on the opponent.”
For a berth in his first Masters 1000 semi-final, Zverev will face Aussie Nick Kyrgios or eighth seed David Goffin, who play tonight on Stadium Court in Miami. The opportunity marks quite the turnaround for Zverev, who was inches away from losing on Monday and heading home. The 6'6" right-hander had to save three match points against American John Isner to escape to the fourth round. “I had to use the opportunity. I knew I got a second chance in this tournament, so I'm really happy that I used it,” Zverev said.
Wawrinka had been in top form before their fourth-round showdown. The Swiss right-hander hadn't dropped a set in South Florida and was coming off his maiden final run at the BNP Paribas Open last week.
Roger Federer stayed perfect at the Miami Open presented by Itau on Tuesday, persevering through a back-and-forth and gritty fourth-round contest against Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6(5), 7-6(4). The Swiss right-hander needed nearly two hours to improve to 6-0 against the Spaniard in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, and afterward likened his recovery to going clubbing.
"I think coming out of a brutal match and then feeling fit like a fiddle in the morning, it's like when you go clubbing," said the 35-year-old Federer. "Same thing. You know, you don't feel the same when you're older. (Laughter.) It's a good example because everybody knows that feeling. Not that I've ever -- you know?"
Federer reaches his second consecutive ATP World Tour Masters 1000 quarter-final, where he'll face 10th seed Tomas Berdych, who dismissed Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 6-3, 7-5 on Tuesday afternoon. Federer leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 17-6, including a straight-sets win earlier this year at the Australian Open.
Nothing came easy for Federer on Tuesday, though. The Swiss was made to labour throughout his sixth meeting with Bautista Agut, who saved eight of 10 break points and broke Federer once during their Round of 16 battle. Federer has now been broken only twice during his three Miami matches.
"I felt good overall. It was a different kind of match," said Federer. "It wasn't the big-serving match where you're only going to see so many looks, so when you miss chances you always feel a bit frustrated sometimes. That's where you got to keep a positive mindset and make the right plays.
"I thought Roberto did a good job of making shots, staying offensive when he could, fending off a lot of good shots that I hit. Then it was tough. The sun was coming from the side in the beginning so it's hard to chase the lines. At the end I'm very happy and pleased that I got it done in straight sets."
The 35 year old sought to be aggressive from the get-go against Bautista Agut, attacking the net often and trying to jolt the 14th seed out of his comfort zone. Federer started by breezing through his service games, especially dominating with his first serve. The fourth seed would win 89 per cent of his first-serve points for the match.
But Federer struggled to land his first serve at 4-4, and Bautista Agut took advantage. Seeing another second serve, the 28 year old stepped into a backhand up the line and broke for a chance to serve out the set. Nerves would get the best of the Spaniard during the 10th game, though, as Federer broke to love when Bautista Agut double faulted.
Federer struck a forehand pass to escape in the first-set tie-break. To start the second set, it looked as if Federer would start to pull away. He broke in the opening game but Bautista Agut broke right back, and to a second tie-break they headed, where Federer solidified his dominance in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, having won all 14 sets they've played, dating back to the 2014 US Open.
Four-time finalist Rafael Nadal is now two matches away from again contending for his first title at the Miami Open presented by Itau. The Spaniard advanced to the Miami quarter-finals on Tuesday, advancing past the veteran Nicolas Mahut 6-4, 7-6(4) in what could have been a tricky fourth-round match-up in Key Biscayne.
Nadal was unbeatable on his serve though, winning 92 per cent of his first-serve points and never facing a break point in the one-hour and 35-minute contest. Mahut served and volleyed with success, taking 64 per cent of his net points (18/28).
But the 35-year-old Frenchman lost his only break point and was outdone in the second-set tie-break. Nadal smashed an inside-out forehand winner to clinch the round of 16 affair.
The fifth-seeded Nadal will meet the red-hot American Jack Sock in the quarter-finals. In an all-American match-up, Sock won 71 per cent of his service points as he defeated #NextGenATP Jared Donaldson 6-2, 6-1 in 63 minutes.
Asked to draw comparisons with Roger Federer's blazing start to the year and his own impressive early-season form, Nadal said: "I think it is a good start of the year for both of us. Obviously a little bit better for him. But at the same time, I am happy the way that I am playing, happy the way that I started the year after a tough second part of the year last year with injuries. So I think it's positive for both of us that we can still be around here and be very competitive almost every week we're playing."
Looking ahead to his meeting with Sock, Nadal said: "He's a very aggressive player, very powerful player, big serve, big forehand, and a good backhand, too. He plays quick with his backhand.So I need to play aggressive. That's the only way. If I let him play in a comfortable position it's going to be impossible for me. So I need to be focus with my serve, but at the same time I need to be aggressive."
Sock is coming off his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semi-final showing in Indian Wells, where his run was ended by Roger Federer. The 24 year old has made early moves in the Emirates ATP Race To London, currently ninth after a career-best start to the year, which has seen him win two ATP World Tour titles in Auckland and Delray Beach.
“The more matches you win the better you feel, the more confident you are,” Sock said. “Physically, mentally [I've] never felt better or stronger, so just excited for the rest of the year.”
Second seed Kei Nishikori survived a stern challenge from Federico Delbonis on Tuesday, advancing to the fourth round of the Miami Open presented by Itaú with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 victory over the Argentine.
After snatching the second set to level the match, the No. 57-ranked Delbonis, who had upset 15th seed Pablo Carreno Busta in the second round, took an early break lead in the decider. But Nishikori reeled off five of the last six games to prevail in two hours and 14 minutes.
The 27-year-old Nishikori is looking to win his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown and goes on to face Fabio Fognini for a spot in the last four.
“I tried to stay calm and focus again,” said Nishikori, reacting to the loss of the second set. “I knew I [still] hde a lot of chances after losing the set. Even though I was down a break, 2-1 [in the third], I was focusing well. I knew if I fight through I will have some chance, so I just tried to concentrate one game at a time.
“I hope I can win some big tournaments sometime soon. I think that's my biggest next goal.”
Fognini had a much smoother route through the fourth round, dismissing American Donald Young 6-0, 6-4 in 66 minutes. The Italian will look to overturn a 0-2 FedEx ATP Head2Head record against Nishikori, who was runner-up in Miami last year (l. to Djokovic).
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View Round of 16 schedule
• DAY 7 PREVIEW: Tuesday at the Miami Open, presented by Itau, features all eight fourth-round matches, including four of the top five seeds: No. 1 Stan Wawrinka, No. 2 Kei Nishikori, No. 4 Roger Federer, and No. 5 Rafael Nadal. The field also features three Americans (No. 13 Jack Sock, Donald Young, and qualifier Jared Donaldson), the most since 2004, when there were four (Roddick-Won, Spadea-SF, Agassi-4R, Martin-4R). Six players are looking to reach their first ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final: No. 16 Alexander Zverev, Federico Delbonis, Nicolas Mahut, Adrian Mannarino, along with Donaldson and Young. Zverev, at 19, is the youngest player in the field, while Federer, at 35, is the oldest. There are 11 countries represented in the 4R, led by the U.S. (3), France (2), Spain (2) and Switzerland (2). One Each: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, and Japan.
Opening the day’s action on Stadium, Nishikori faces Delbonis, who upset No. 15 Carreno Busta in the second round. Delbonis is one of five unseeded players (compared to only three seeds) remaining in the bottom half of the draw, while in the top half, only one unseeded competitor has made it this far. Nishikori, a finalist in Miami last year (l. to Djokovic), won the only previous meeting between the two, a 2011 qualifying-round encounter in Rome.
Next up on the men’s Stadium slate, Nadal plays Mahut for the first time since 2011. Nadal played his 1,000th career match on Sunday, overcoming a 0-6 score in the first set to defeat Kohlschreiber in three. Mahut defeated Pella in straight sets on Sunday, and upset No. 23 Johnson in the second round. The career head-to-head is knotted at one apiece; Nadal won the last encounter via retirement at the 2011 US Open.
Rounding out the Stadium court day session, Federer goes toe-to-toe with No. 14 Roberto Bautista Agut. The Swiss star has never lost a set against the Spainard, claiming all 12 sets in their previous five encounters. Like this one, four of their past matches have taken place in the round of 16. Federer service games will be a clash of titans: Fed has been broken only once in two matches here, while Bautista Agut leads the field in rate of return games won, having broken his opponents in 11 of 23 tries.
The evening session concludes with both of last year’s losing semi-finalists, No. 12 Nick Kyrgios and No. 8 David Goffin. Their only previous match was last year’s Tokyo final, in which Kyrgios triumphed in three sets. Both men needed three sets yesterday as well, with Kyrgios edging Karlovic in a deciding-set tiebreak, and Goffin coming back to overcome Schwartzman.
The first two matches on Grandstand feature the American hopes, beginning with an unseeded clash between Young and Fabio Fognini, who has lost to the American in both previous meetings. In his third-round defeat of Paire, Young improved to a tour-best 10-1 in tiebreaks this season, and if he reaches the quarterfinal, it will be the first time since 2008 that two Americans reached the final eight (Roddick, Blake). After that is the all-American fourth-rounder between Sock and Donaldson, the first encounter between the two. Sock is tied with four other players (including Goffin) with 17 wins on the season, while Donaldson is trying to become the first qualifier since Canas (2007, l. to Djokovic) to reach the quarterfinals.
The second half of the Grandstand slate begins with No. 10 Tomas Berdych—making his fifth consecutive appearance in the Miami fourth round, and 9th in 10 years—against Mannarino, in his second round-of-16 showing (2015, l. to Thiem). Berdych has won all three matches between the two, and is one of only four players remaing (w/ Federer, Wawrinka, Sock) who have yet to drop a set. Last up is top seed Wawrinka against Zverev, who needed to save match point and fight through three tiebreaks to oust Isner last night. Wawrinka is celebrating his 32nd birthday, an anniversary he hopes to mark by reaching his first-ever Miami quarter-final. He and Zverev have played once before, in last year’s St. Petersburg final, where Zverev came out on top to win his first-ever ATP World Tour title.
Top seed Stan Wawrinka matched his best showing at the Miami Open presented by Itau on Monday night with a 6-3, 6-4 win against Tunisia's Malek Jaziri. Wawrinka outplayed the 33-year-old veteran, who was trying to match his fourth-round showing at the BNP Paribas Open last week.
The Swiss right-hander saved all six break points and converted two of his four break chances during the 70-minute contest. Wawrinka will face #NextGenATP star Alexander Zverev in the fourth round on Tuesday.
Zverev won their only prior FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting, last year during the St. Petersburg Open final. But Wawrinka, the top seed at an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament for the first time, will be trying to achieve his best showing in South Florida. The 31-year-old also reached the fourth round in Miami in 2009 (l. to Nadal) and 2014 (l. to Dolgopolov).
#NextGenATP star Alexander Zverev saved three match points and came back from a set down to beat American John Isner 6-7(5), 7-6(6), 7-6(5) on Monday at the Miami Open presented by Itau. The win pushes Zverev through to the fourth round of an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament for the second time. He also reached the round of 16 last year in Indian Wells (l. to Nadal).
On Stadium Court against Isner, the 19-year-old German was down match points at 5/6 in the second-set tie-break and 4-5, 15/40 in the third set. But the 6'6” right-hander erased them all, and on his first match point, Isner sailed a backhand long. Zverev raised his arms to the sky in celebration after the two-hour and 38-minute contest.
Nick Kyrgios, another top young player on the ATP World Tour, also advanced after a three-set battle against a big-serving veteran. The 21-year-old Aussie outlasted 6'11” Ivo Karlovic 6-4, 6-7(4), 7-6(2) in two hours and 26 minutes.
Kyrgios failed to convert all seven break chances in the second set, but the 12th seed stayed the course in the decider and came through to reach the fourth round. Kyrgios will next meet eighth seed David Goffin, who beat Argentine Diego Schwartzman 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 in two hours and 32 minutes.
Federer, a two-time Miami champion (2005-06), never lost his serve against the powerful right-hander, who had five break chances but couldn't convert any of them. The win improves Federer to 15-1 on the season and 46-13 for his career at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament.
“I felt like I was in control and I was able to generate more chances than he did,” Federer said. “I was more the aggressor. It was more on my racquet, and I like it that way.”
Federer also extends his FedEx ATP Head2Head series lead against del Potro to 16-5. Perhaps more impressive, the Swiss star adds del Potro's name to his list of defeated opponents during his comeback season, a ledger that also includes Top 10 players Stan Wawrinka, Kei Nishikori and Rafael Nadal.
“He competes so well point for point, day in day out, and he plays a ton of tournaments, and he's really just match tough... I hope I can use my variation to really make him feel uncomfortable,” said Federer, who leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 5-0 and is a perfect 12-0 in sets against the Spaniard.
The third-round showdown between Federer and del Potro was their first meeting since the round-robin stage of the 2013 ATP Finals, but they renewed their rivalry with vigor from the start on Monday afternoon. Federer sought to stay away from del Potro's rocket forehand, targetting the backhand wing and seeking to catch del Potro favouring that side. Del Potro looked to crush his best stroke as often as he could.
But it was the 35-year-old Federer, as he has been all season long, who was more on point in front of a packed and boisterous crowd on Stadium Court. After failing to convert two break points at 3-2, Federer seized the occasion in the eighth game, ripping a forehand past del Potro, who left a backhand slice too short to challenge Federer.
Serving at 5-3, the fourth-seeded Swiss erased four break points and finished the set with a backhand drop shot that del Potro could only watch. “Looking back, that was probably the key. I knew when he had the break point at 15/40, if I could dig my way out of that game, and instead of being broken, hold and win the set, it's a good escape,” Federer said. “So I think I did well there. Juan Martin didn't play his best because he did have his chances there on second serves and he could've done better, maybe played more aggressive, who knows what. But I hit some good shots to stay in there.”
Federer didn't wait long to break in the second set, taking advantage of his first opportunity to go up 3-2. One break was all he would need as he served out their 21st FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting to love.
“It's not easy playing against Roger because he has good forehand, good backhand, slice, drop shot, everything,” del Potro said. “But think I did my best, and I had chances in both sets and I couldn't take it. He played well in the break-point moments, and I think that was the only difference of the match.”
The 10th-seeded Czech won 76 per cent of his service points and converted two of his four break point chances to wrap up victory in 84 minutes, avenging the defeat he suffered to Muller in Tokyo last year. The right-hander goes on to face Adrian Mannarino.
Mannarino needed two hours and 38 minutes to get past #NextGenATP star Borna Coric, edging the 20-year-old Croatian 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(3). Mannarino was denied a match point on Coric’s serve in the ninth game of the decider, before being broken as he served for the match at 5-4. But the Frenchman regrouped in the ensuing tie-break to prevail.
Coric had upset eighth seed Dominic Thiem in the third round.
Roberto Bautista Agut set a fourth-round clash with Roger Federer after beating recent Acapulco champion, Sam Querrey, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 in just under two hours. The 28-year-old Spaniard will look to beat Federer for the first time in six attempts.